Cedar and Department of Health celebrate the launch of Learning Disability Week 2023

Cedar Foundation invited Peter May, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health, and Nigel Chambers, Department of Health, to Balmoral Training and Resource Centre to celebrate the launch of Learning Disability Awareness Week 2023. This year the campaign focuses on showcasing achievement and smashing stigma. Cedar has a long history of supporting people living with Learning Disabilities and this was highlighted through a film that depicts 80 years of the organisation working across Northern Ireland.

Elaine Armstrong, Cedar CEO explained:

“We are delighted to present Cedar’s opening contribution to Learning Disability Week 2023 alongside Peter May, Permanent Secretary, Department of Health and Nigel Chambers, Head of Learning Disability, Department of Health.

Our vision is an inclusive society for all and that is why we work to deliver Opportunity, Choice, and Inclusion daily. As an organisation we support individuals and families living with disability, autism, and brain injury to live the lives they choose. We are excited to showcase the experiences and achievements of our service users during the week. Most importantly, our efforts culminate in our primary part in Learning Disability Pride this week whereby service users will live the theme of ‘Do Your Thing’. They have gone above and beyond choosing costumes and practicing for the large-scale parade in Carrickfergus. An event to be enjoyed by all.”

Peter May, Permanent Secretary to the Department of Health said:

“Today I have seen at first hand the valuable role that the Cedar Foundation play in supporting adults and children with brain injury, autism, and learning disability.”

“I welcomed the opportunity to better understand the impact of the European Social Fund, in supporting people to develop the skills to employment and training. However, what crystalised was the significant role their project plays in addressing isolation and improving mental health.”

“I was struck by the diversity of people supported, their lived experience and the value they attribute the Cedar’s work.

“While I welcome the investment made by the Shared Prosperity Fund, it is becoming clearer that this is not a like-for-like programme and projects will need to reconfigure their services,

The Department will continue to engage with the sector and across government on this issue, to explore potential solutions within the current financial context.”

Nigel Chambers, Department of Health said:

“I value the opportunity to meet with Cedar and the people that they support, to have fuller lives.”

“The Department is currently progressing a strategic plan which seeks to recalibrate services for people with learning disabilities. Central to this work is engagement with people supported, providers, Trusts and Departments to develop a cross-cutting approach that better enables people with learning disabilities to access mainstream services and to have greater choice and control in their lives.

“The work profiled by Cedar today is very much aligned to this vision.”

Cedar delivers support services across Northern Ireland. If you would like to learn more about Learning Disability services, please visit www.cedar-foundation.org.